If you are tasked with reporting about suicide or self-harm it is really important to do this responsibly as studies have shown that some reporting can lead to copycat behaviour.
- Focus on feelings, not behaviours. Try to report underlying issues or motivations behind the self-harm, as opposed to detailing the behaviour itself. Graphic descriptions can be used as tips by people who may be predisposed to self-harming.
- Don’t be explicit about methods, e.g. it may be okay to mention taking an overdose, but avoid detailing what substance was taken, how many tablets, etc. This could be used as a tip by someone experiencing suicidal ideations.
- Avoid coverage of self-harming behaviours by celebrities. It could glamourise or prompt imitation behaviour.
- Remember the correct term is to ‘complete’ suicide, not ‘commit’. ‘Commit’ is used when describing criminality, and implies judgement or persecution.